This game was huge in deciding who out of these teams will miss out on top four. One team who struggle against the lesser teams but turn up and give 100% against the big clubs, and another who can beat any lesser team but struggle to compete with the top clubs. One club with a manager who is loved by their supporters and another who has split their fanbase in half after so many years with the club. This game just tells the story of both teams brilliantly. So let’s get straight into it.
The first thing to talk about would definitely be Sanchez being left on the bench. It baffles me that any manager would leave their best player on the bench at Anfield. There were rumours of a training ground row but it seems false from what Wenger says and what the players said. So you have to look at this decision tactically. Arsene Wenger said after the game that he picked Giroud and Welbeck because he wanted to use height as his main weapon, but that isn’t how you beat Liverpool. They play a high line in every game so you need pace to hurt them, like what Leicester and Burnley did, so playing Sanchez would of been more beneficial, because Sanchez would of easily chased those balls like Vardy and Gray did. But let’s say height was the way to win this game, why play Iwobi and Oxlade-Chamberlein over Sanchez? It’s became clear over the last couple of seasons that Sanchez can play anywhere on the forward line, so why not play him? He adds so much more than Iwobi and the Ox. (who is much better in central midfield) I’ve tried to clearly show that tactically leaving Sanchez on the bench is idiotic. So it begs the question, why did Wenger do it? I think of out arrogance, he wanted to prove that he didn’t need Sanchez to succeed, after all the rumours spreading that he wants to leave, so by dropping him he wanted to show that he could win without him, but these wasn’t the case. He found out he needs Sanchez badly, and has learned it the hard way. But that wasn’t the only issue Arsenal faced. They had a very lazy midfield in Xhaka and Coquelin, both performed very poorly on the day, especially Xhaka, who took too long on the ball against a high pressing team. Coquelin offered no energy or protection. He goes reminds everyone that he isn’t good enough for a top club, he lacked the edge and intelligence to play there. It was just an all around poor performance by the gunners, who were completely outclassed by Liverpool. Speaking of Liverpool, they were brilliant, and not because Arsenal were poor, because they pressed brilliantly and were lethal with the ball. All of their goals were goals we are used to Liverpool scoring, going down the wing and the other forwards getting space, ready to receive the ball. Mane was excellent as ever, leaving a dreadful Monreal on his own and putting the ball in the back of the net. But the goal they conceeded was also typical Liverpool, not marking Welbeck and Mignolet doing a poor job at protecting the goal.
I still believe that both of these teams will not get top four, based on their inconsistency. But they both will be back next season to fight like the other four teams.